Thursday, May 3, 2018

Top ten super hidden gems of Rome

1. Ponte Rotto

It's a bridge, just off the south tip of Isola Tiberina, you know, in the river. You can't walk on it because it's broken. That flood in 1598 was such a drag! By the time Turner drew it it still had three arches, but after 2,100 years now, we're down to this one arch. So, like, hurry!

2. La Strega Nocciola

It's a gelateria in the Spanish Steps area. But I don't mean the whole gelateria, just the metal bin that contains the lavender flavor.

3. Brick number 27 near Via Monterone 26 (count 27 bricks from the wall vent)

It's just a really special brick, but I'll admit it looks a lot like all the other bricks.

4. The Pinturicchio Frescoes in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo

There are 487 better paintings in Rome. There are better paintings than these right in the same church! But, oh these are lovely. So so so lovely. I love them. So just for the hell of it ignore other completely bewildering and mind-blowing Caravaggios nearby, and head over here like you're a Pinturicchio scholar, which, compared to everyone else there, you already practically are!

5. The couch at the window of the cafe I've sworn not to tell anyone about.

Sorry. But you have to admit that's pretty super hidden. And yes, it's good, so good I've been sworn not to tell anyone.

6. Piazza Borghese

Sure, it's a comparatively unremarkable, but also perfectly nice and central, Roman Piazza. It also hosts a little prints and booksellers market regularly where we have sometimes bought vintage postcards. But of course the amazing thing is that this, yes, this is the very spot where the beloved classic movie When in Rome, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, was filmed! Partly. With a fake fountain. And when I say "Classic" I mean it got a 25 percent score on metacritic and was critically reviled.

But that doesn't mean it wasn't totally charming. And this is where it happened!

7. Feral art exhibit along the fence in front of the Augustus Mausoleum.

Is it still there? At the fence? On the wall? It's worth taking a chance. It's like a 3D cartoon of the Rome tourist experience.

8. Chiesa di San Rocco

You go in and to the left there is a nave decorated to look like a stone grotto. I just like it. And it's hidden. And it's my list. I don't expect you to like everything here, and besides, you'll be so high from seeing where they filmed the Kristen Bell fountain scenes that you'll barely notice the disappointment.

9. The Palazzo Barberini Cafe

I'll save you the trouble of your exhaustive Internet search and a lot of awkward questions with the Barberini Museum Staff. There is no cafe. I refer to the highly entertaining coin-op espresso machine in a vestibule (a large vestibule) at the Bernini Stairs.

10. I lost it!

This was the best one too! But it is so hidden that I misplaced it. I'm pretty sure it is somewhere sort of near the Vicolo del Divino Amore. Just spend a few fruitless hours poking about near there and it'll probably turn it up. Trust me.

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